Europe

Hop-On Hop-Off Budapest Traveler’s Guide: Is It a Worthy Commute?

Updated on:  
July 25, 2021
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Miriam Jaffe
Miriam Jaffe
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Before you jump on the hop-on-hop-off city tour buses in Budapest, let's make sure you're in the know of these important details, including the different companies' routes and prices, so you can travel with peace of mind!

On our next stop on our Hop on Hop off bus review tour, we’re headed to Budapest! While these tours can be a great way to easily get around a city, and see some of the highlights, are they something that you would want to do? Since Budapest offers Hop on Hop off tours, we figured we’d help you make that decision. Read on to see what would be in store for you in Budapest! 

For reviews of other Hop on Hop off tours in Europe, head to our posts on ParisRome, and Berlin

City sightseeing budapest hop on hop off bus.
Image Courtesy: City Sightseeing

What is a Hop On Hop Off tour?

Hop on Hop Off bus tours do exactly what the name implies - they’re bus tours that allow you to hop on and off as many times as you’d like, as they make their way through a city. While you don’t have to literally hop on or off the bus, it does make getting around a new city easy and efficient. Unlike a regular commuter bus, you’ll be taken straight to the famous landmarks, without you having to figure out how to get there.

Whenever you visit a new city, it can be overwhelming to try and manage it all, and Budapest is no exception. Hop on Hop off tours can help you check off all your important sights. 

Tours typically operate on a set route, and you can either ride the bus through the whole circuit, get off at the sights that interest you, or do a combination of both. You can then hop back on when the next bus comes through. 

Another thing that differentiates hop on hop off buses from traditional buses is that there will frequently be pre-recorded commentary available.

These will come in multiple languages so you don’t need to worry if you don’t speak the local language. Buses sometimes also have open rooftop seating so you can get the best views as you cruise through the city. 

Big bus tours bus in Budapest.
Image Courtesy L Big Bus Tours

Stops in Budapest

As with many other cities in Europe, the big name in this style of the bus tour is Big Bus Tours. Their Budapest tour runs one route (the red route), with 20 stops. The entire circuit runs for 90 minutes, with tours starting every 60 minutes on weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends. Tours have a pre-recorded commentary available in 16 languages as well.  

RED ROUTE (first bus leaves from stop 1 at 09:00, and last departs at 17:00)

  1. Basilica (St Stephen's Basilica)
  2. Chain Bridge (Academy of Science, Gresham Palace, Chain Bridge)
  3. József Attila Street
  4. Synagogue
  5. Astoria (Great Synagogue, Astoria Hotel)
  6. Andrássy Avenue
  7. Opera (State Opera House)
  8. Octogon/Liszt Ferenc Square 
  9. Heroes’ Square (Gold Museum, Széchenyi Baths, Kunsthalle Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Transport Museum, Vajdahunyad Castle)
  10. Keleti Railway Station
  11. New York Cafe
  12. Astoria
  13. Váci Street
  14. Gellért Bath
  15. Castle Garden (History Museum)
  16. Castle/Funicular (Buda Castle, Funicular, History Museum)
  17. Batthyany Square (Eternal Flame, Church of St Anne, Parliament Building)
  18. Margaret Bridge (Statue of József Bem, Margaret Island, Lukács Baths)
  19. Nyugati Railway Station
  20. Parliament (Imre Nagy Statue, Soviet Memorial, Ronald Reagan Statue, Parliament Building, Freedom Square, The Ethnographic Museum)

Your Hop On Hop Off ticket can be used for as long as it’s valid, and you can hop on and off as many times as you like, provided there’s another bus coming. Bus tickets do not include entry to any of the landmarks or attractions, though.

There’s also a Big Bus Tours mobile app you can download so you can track in real-time when the next bus will arrive, and follow your route. This is helpful if you choose to get off at every stop so you can plan when to be back to continue your journey. The app is available on Google Store and in the Apple app store. 

Big bus tours touring around Budapest Attractions.
Image Courtesy: Big Bus Tours

Ticket prices

If you’re interested in taking the Big Bus Tour Hop on Hop Off tour of Budapest, you’ll need to purchase tickets. Booking online can save you 10%, but you can book tickets before boarding the bus as well. All ticket prices include free WiFi on the bus, a river cruise, and pre-recorded commentary. Prices are as follows:


Classic Ticket (one day ticket)

  • Adult: €24.30 online (€27.00 on street)

Premium Ticket (two-day ticket)

  • Adult: €28.80 online (€32.00 on street)

Deluxe Ticket (three-day ticket)

  • Adult: €33.30 online (€37.00 on street)

Route map

While we’ve provided you with all the stops on the red route, it might not mean much in purely a list format. If you’re looking to see it on a map, and where the Big Bus Tour will take you, look no further!

Hop-on Hop-off bus red route in Budapest.

Image Courtesy: Big Bus Tours

City Sightseeing

If the Big Bus Tour route doesn’t quite meet your needs, fear not, there’s another option in Budapest! City Sightseeing offers another (similar) route that takes 140 minutes for the full loop, with a bus frequency of 20 minutes. 

  1. St. Stephen’s Basilica (first bus leaves at 9:00, and last bus leaves at 18:00)
  2. Chain Bridge
  3. Március 15 Square
  4. Great Market Hall
  5. Kálvin Square
  6. Anker Lane
  7. Andrássy Avenue
  8. Hungarian State Opera House
  9. Liszt Ferenc Square
  10. Heroes’ Square
  11. Keleti Railway Station
  12. New York Place
  13. Astoria
  14. Parisi Udvar/Hyatt
  15. Citadel
  16. Castle Garden
  17. Funicular/Sikló
  18. Batthyany Square
  19. Margaret Bridge (Buda)
  20. WestEnd Shopping Centre
  21. Parliament

Ticket Prices

City Sightseeing has three price brackets for their tickets, so you can choose the one which best fits your Budapest travel plans. You can purchase a ticket that includes a boat tour if you’d like as well. This tour lasts 60 minutes and departs from Március 15 Square, dock number 8A.


Iconic - from €24.30

  • 24-hour ticket   

Essential - from €27.00

  • 48-hour ticket
  • Boat tour

Value - from €29.10

  • 72-hour ticket
  • Boat tour
  • Night tour (not currently available as of publishing date)

When available, this is not a hop-on hop-off tour, but rather a proper tour. The meeting point is at St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the tour lasts 110 minutes. 

Budapest city sightseeing bus tours.
Image Courtesy: City Sightseeing

Next stop: Budapest!

Whether it’s your first visit to Budapest, or it’s your favorite city, a Hop on Hop off bus tour can be a great way to see the city from a new angle (and not only because of the open-air top deck)!

It’s a quick and efficient way to see highlights of the city and to help you save time you might lose trying to figure out how to get places. 

Even if Budapest isn’t your next destination, we still want to help you travel the world. Did you know that Pilot has a travel app to help make your plans and itinerary? No? Sign up to give it a whirl, we know you want to try it!

Feel free to also subscribe to Flightdeck to get all of our tips and tricks straight to your inbox. 

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